CNN Falsely Reports Resignation of HHS Head Alex Azar

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HHS Secretary Alex Azar at NIH by National Institutes of Health (NIH) is marked with CC PDM 1.0

CNN likes to lecture people about facts. They claim to stand behind the facts and are horrified at President Trump’s words and statements.

The problem is that the network just can’t stop saying things that aren’t true.

CNN’s Latest SNAFU

CNN‘s latest truth mix-up comes from its recent report that Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is resigning before Trump’s term is over. It is true that Betsy DeVos, Elaine Chao and Chad Wolf have recently headed for the exit door so it would be possible.

The problem is it’s not true.

“Contrary to the @CNN chyron, I am still here serving the American people at HHS. I believe it is my duty to help ensure a smooth transition to President-elect Biden’s team during the pandemic and will remain as Secretary through January 20,” Azar tweeted, noting that he’d put in a resignation letter only as a regular part of the transition process.

In other words CNN fumbled the ball on basic political procedure, falsely reporting that Azar was quitting in anger, when he was just doing standard paperwork for a change of administration. Oops.

Fake News Fiesta

Azar’s resignation letter – dated Jan. 12 – specifically says he won’t be leaving until Jan. 20 so it’s hard to figure out how CNN got it wrong. The letter says it’s been “the greatest professional privilege and honor of my life to serve as Secretary, and I thank you for the opportunity to serve the American people.”

According to Anderson Cooper and the talking heads at CNN the resignation letter is a middle finger to Trump but actually if you read it, the letter is simply saying that the Jan. 6 riots were not a good end to the administration.

“The actions and rhetoric following the election, especially during this past week, threaten to tarnish these and other historic legacies of this Administration,” Azar notes, asking Trump to condemn the violence and ensure the Biden inauguration goes smoothly. Trump has now condemned violence multiple times and vowed the inauguration will go ahead smoothly, although he won’t be attending.

President Trump Signs H.R. 3401 by The White House is marked with CC PDM 1.0

Assessing Azar’s Performance as Head of HHS

As head of HHS, Azar had to deal with the massive COVID-19 pandemic. He helped bring Operation Warp Speed to get a vaccine and various effective therapies that helped those struggling with the life-threatening illness.

Azar also pointed to his achievements in helping reduce AIDS transmission and deal with opioid addiction.

As of now almost 11 million Americans have been vaccinated. Some critics blame Azar for the nearly 400,000 American COVID deaths, but while he clearly hasn’t done a perfect job he’s been behind initiatives like Operation Warp Speed that have been a success. As Azar acknowledges in his letter, the United States didn’t even find out about COVID-19 from China, it had to contact a Taiwanese source who let them know what was going on.

This caught the US way off guard, as Azar notes:

“Being able to investigate the virus in January would’ve helped the United States and the world develop a science and data-driven response. Instead we were flying blind.”

Excuses don’t save lives, it’s true, but it’s also true that adding to the drama and hype won’t improve the current health and economic situation either. For all its talk of being reasonable and fact-driven, CNN is a prime example of junky fake news that wants to take anything and hype it up if it makes populists and conservatives look bad.

The network simply has no standards when it comes to accuracy and at this point the coming four years of CNN‘s reporting on Joe Biden and Kamala Harris should be rated X for inappropriate content.